Got warriors?

A quadriplegic horse gentler helps reservation boys through their dangerous teens

  • Daniel Addison, a Northern Arapaho teen, on Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation.

    Sarah Kariko
  • Copyright (c) 2009 by Lisa Jones. From the forthcoming book Broken by Lisa Jones, to be published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., N.Y. Printed by permission.
  • Stanford Addison, quadriplegic healer, foreground, surrounded by his "outlaws."

    Sarah Kariko
  • Stanford Addison works a horse from his wheelchair.

    Sarah Kariko
  • Stanford Addison gets help stretching from Robert.

 

Copyright (C) 2009 by Lisa Jones. From the forthcoming book Broken: A Love Story by Lisa Jones, to be published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., N.Y. Printed by permission.

Daniel Addison was 17 years old and skinny when I met him five years ago, although it was hard to say for sure because he wore such oversized clothes. When he rode a horse near his home on Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation, he flopped and clinked around in the saddle like a heap of black laundry encrusted with chains.

Daniel was Northern Arapaho Goth.

Once I said to him, "It must be really easy to do your laundry since everything's black."

He looked blank.

"When all the clothes are black, the colors don't bleed onto each other," I explained.

He looked at me quietly for a few seconds, then said with real feeling, "Yeah, but black fades."

I was at Daniel's house because I was writing a book about his father, Stanford Addison, a quadriplegic horse gentler and traditional healer. An endless stream of visitors came to Stanford's house seeking help with troublesome horses and neighbors, or relief from cancer and bipolar disorder. I was a frequent visitor over a five-year period, and at Stanford's I experienced enough joy, pain and transcendence to change my life. But that's another story. Suffice it to say Stanford was the gentlest and most powerful person I'd ever met.

One evening, Stanford was saying something to me like "when people are angry, they flare red," and I was letting the statement work slowly through my white, unmystical synapses when Daniel yelled, "Aaaa!"

He was about four feet away from us, scrutinizing his face in the bathroom mirror.

"A hair!" he hollered. "On my chin!" Being from a Northern and hairy race myself, I grew up believing that for 17-year-old boys finding a hair on their chin would be an occasion for joy, or perhaps relief. Not for Daniel.

He came over, thrust his chin into my face, and said, "Can you see it? Can you see it?"

I couldn't, I promised.

"Oh, man," he said disgustedly. "I look like a man who lives on a island."

What did that mean? Maybe he meant someone who'd survived a shipwreck. Or maybe for a Plains Indian whose life is all about roaming the Wyoming sage in his grandma's borrowed Cutlass Sierra -- which Daniel had done with satisfaction until a couple of months before, when he swerved to avoid a horse in the darkness and totaled the car, emerging characteristically unscathed himself -- maybe for a young guy like that, living on an island would be a confining, bad, hairy experience.

I loved Daniel even though he bred pit bulls. He gave them delicate, feminine, frontiersy names -- Daisy, Eve and Nell -- but the dogs were still killers in the "I'm just playing but oops now I'm killing" way of their breed. They killed my favorite dog at Stan's, a little mutt named Mark that ran with the pack around the house. Daniel was there when this happened, and had been bursting to tell me about it for months, but he had been sternly instructed to tell me the little dog had been killed by a porcupine. Mark was six months dead when I found out the truth, and I was grateful for the lie.

High Country News Classifieds
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Western Slope Conservation Center Paonia, CO WSCC seeks a dynamic leader who is mission-driven, hardworking and a creative problem-solver. Position Summary: The Executive Director leads...
  • ARIZONA STATE DIRECTOR
    A LITTLE ABOUT US Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all...
  • CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT/HOSPITALITY SERVICES
    Seasoned ranch manager of award-winning conservation ranch seeking position as nature reserve/resort or ranch manager. Visit philipmoonwalker.com for resume and certifications. Contact: [email protected]
  • PART-TIME OREGON GRANT WRITER
    Help advance rights for people, communities, and nature - Part-time grant writer. The Oregon Community Rights Network (ORCRN) has been active over the last six...
  • UTAH PUBLIC LANDS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Job Title: Utah Public Lands Program Director Location: Southern Utah Position: Full Time (40 hours per week) Supervisor: Conservation Director About us: The Grand Canyon...
  • FSBO PROPERTY-SOUTHEAST ARIZONA
    Located in an area steeped in history, this gentleman's ranch sits at the entrance to the renowned Cave Creek Canyon. Enjoy picturesque views of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, based in Ely, Nevada is looking for a new executive director to replace the long-time executive director who is retiring at...
  • LAND CONSERVATION PROJECT MANAGER
    JOIN OUR TEAM! The New Mexico Land Conservancy in Santa Fe is seeking a Land Conservation Project Manager who will work to protect land and...
  • HOME NEAR CAPITOL REEF NP
    Comfortable home at foot of Boulder Mountain, on one fenced acre. Amazing views!
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • LOG HOME IN THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Beautiful hand built log home in the heart of the Gila Wilderness on five acres. Please email for PDF of pictures and a full description.
  • NEW MEXICO PROPERTY - SILVER CITY
    20 acres, $80,000. Owner financing, well, driveway, fencing possible, very private, sensible covenants, broker owned. Contact - 575-534-7955 or [email protected]
  • SECLUDED COLORADO HIDEAWAY
    This passive solar home sits on 2 lots and offers an abundance of privacy and views while being only 15 minutes to downtown Buena Vista....
  • CARETAKER
    2.0 acre homestead needing year-round caretaker in NE Oregon. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.